In a bold departure from tradition, Nancy Drew won't be a 'white girl' in upcoming TV series

In a bold move, Nancy Drew won't be a 'white girl' in an upcoming television show about the amateur detective as a grown-up cop.

The Nancy Drew books, about a teenage amateur detective, are among the most popular book series with young readers. Now the much-loved story is all set to hit television screens, with CBS developing a Nancy Drew reboot. However, this upcoming series is going to be very different from the teenage Nancy we remember from the books.

Carolyn Keene's first Nancy Drew novel 'The Secret Of The Old Clock.' Image: Grosset & Dunlap/WikiMedia

Carolyn Keene's first Nancy Drew novel 'The Secret Of The Old Clock.' Image: Grosset & Dunlap/WikiMedia

The new show will be 'a contemporary take on the character from the iconic book series. Now in her 30s, Nancy is a detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world," according to a report on Entertainment Weekly.

But that's not all, the biggest departure from the book series will be Nancy Drew's race. The CBS gas clearly mentioned that the modern, television Nancy won't be a Caucasian character.

"We're not casting colour-blind, we're casting colour-conscious," Geller was quoted as saying by BBC.

"She is diverse, that is the way she is written," CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller told The Hollywood Reporter, asserting that "(She will) not (be) Caucasian."

While Geller did not go into specifications, he added that he wold be open to any ethnicity. This means that the new generation of fans might just see a Black or Latina or even an Indian Nancy Drew.

While it is an established fact that Nancy in the books is white — she is described as having strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes — it is an encouraging sign that she will be portrayed as a racially-diverse character.

This won't be the first time that racial diversity in popular literature is being addressed through multimedia. Last month, it was announced that Swaziland-born actress Noma Dumezweni would play the role of Hermione Granger in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be staged in London, and was unsurprisingly at the receiving end of comments about her skin colour. However she also received support from author JK Rowling and Emma Watson.

Something similar happened with the casting of The Hunger Games when Cinna, Thresh and Rue are played by black actors, despite the fact that both the District 11 tributes Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi) and Rue (Amandla Stenberg) were described in the books as having "dark skin" while Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) was said to have short brown hair.

2015 Booker Prize Winner and Jamaican author Marlon James also discussed the lack of racial diversity in literature saying he was sick and tired of arguing about whether there should be a black hobbit in Lord of the Rings.

Hence, the fact that Nancy Drew being portrayed by a 'coloured' actress on international television doesn't showed that things are changing and that 'colour-conscious' casting might just get common enough for it not to be pointed out.

Here's hoping that a 30-year old Nancy will kick a** and be the adult that most children who grew up reading her adventures hoped she would become.


Published Date: Jan 18, 2016 04:25 pm | Updated Date: Jan 18, 2016 04:25 pm